26 May 2013

Admire, Respect & Emulate: my Top Ten

It was during the summer of 1999 that I really began my 'plunge into genealogy and family history'. I had just completed a nine-month leadership development program called Leadership Tomorrow. Prior to this I had been totally immersed in 'life as a member of, and ultimately president of, the Seattle Jaycees.' And prior to that my whole life was 'the American Red Cross.' I was told, by friends and peers, that if I fell and cut myself there would be 'little red crosses' flowing out of my veins.

I'm one of those people who totally and completely immerse themselves in what they are passionate about. When I'm committed to something I give it my all, and then some more.

About five years ago, I took an 'online challenge' called "describe ME in one word...just one single word."  You send that message to your peers and wait for a response. The 'one word' descriptions I received were: caring, seeker, enthusiastic, precise, firecracker, vivacious, breathless, tenacious.

Today I call myself a tenacious freelance historian and writer. 

How I came to this chapter in my life has been a journey--a journey that has brought me in contact with many wonderful individuals I have come to know as guides, tutors, educators, and mentors. Some I have developed a personal friendship with, and others I admire and respect but only know on a professional basis. 

When I reflect on my development as a historian and writer, several of them top my list of heroes. They have helped to develop my passion, my ethics, and my view of life as a human being. I choose this venue as a means to thank them for 'being who they are to me, and to so many others.' Below is a very brief summary for each one, with live links to websites and articles that tell more about their involvement in 21st century Seattle.

MY TOP TEN 'in alphabetical order'

Education Specialist for the National Archives, Seattle
Carol is the educator at the National Archives at Seattle. She develops online and in-person programs in archival research for teachers, college students, family historians and the general public. She holds a master’s degree in American Indian studies from UCLA and a B.A. in elementary education from Western State College of Colorado. [Carol also made my wedding dress.]

Seattle Public Library's genealogy librarian (retired)
Darlene has been the 'go to' person for genealogy at the Seattle Public Library since 1971, and retired in June 2011 after 40 years of amazing and dedicated service. Darlene has assisted over 250,000 people during her tenure, and did so with kindness, congeniality, patience and efficiency. 

Pastor, teacher, and historian
Dennis is Pastor at St. James Lutheran Church in Portland, Oregon. [Prior to this Dennis was Pastor of
Bethany Lutheran Church in the Green Lake neighborhood and a resident of Queen Anne Hill, having lived in Seattle since 1973.] Following graduate studies in Germanic languages and literature at the University of Washington and the University of Vienna, Austria, he worked for seven years in charge of photographs and architectural drawings in the Special Collections Division of the University of Washington Libraries.  He graduated from Wartburg Theological Seminary in 1987 and has served as an ELCA pastor ever since. He co-authored with Jeffrey Ochsner Distant Corner: Seattle Architects and the Legacy of H.H. Richardson (University of Washington Press, 2004). A frequent writer and lecturer on regional architectural and photographic history, he serves on the Board of Governors of the Book Club of Washington, is an adjunct faculty member of the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Partners for Sacred Places, a Philadelphia-based organization dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of historic religious structures and their ministries. 

Seattle Public Library's genealogy librarian (current)
John has been on the staff at the Seattle Public Library since 2004, working side-by-side with Darlene Hamilton. He moved to Seattle in 1993 (just one year after I did) and 'discovered the large genealogy collection at SPL and microfilm available at the National Archives.' John has a B.S. in Computer Science and a master's degree in Library and Information Science. He's 1/2 Norwegian on his mother's side, with immigrant ancestors from Vestre Toten, Sondreland & Snertingdal (Gjovik), Oppland Fylke; Hol, Buskerud Fylie; and Sogndal, Son of Fjordane Fylke. He was a guest lecturer at my 2009 Norwegian Genealogy Workshop, and serves with me as an Advisory Board member of the University of Washington Genealogy & Family History Certificate Program.

Journalist, writer and columnist for Crosscut.com
Knute is a Seattle native who writes the monthly Grey Matters column for Seattle magazine, and is the author of Pugetopolis: A Mossback Takes On Growth Addicts, Weather Wimps, and the Myth of Seattle Nice, published by Sasquatch Books. In 2011, he was named Writer-in-Residence at the Space Needle, and he is author of Space Needle, The Spirit of Seattle (2012), the Needle's official 50th anniversary history. Knute's paternal grandfather and namesake, Knute, emigrated from Norway in the early 20th century. I gravitate to anything written by Knute, who is, in my opinion, an expert in Seattle social history.

Program Director, Historic Seattle and so much more
One of my all-time-favorite people is my boss - Larry Kreisman. I consider him to be 'the best boss in all the world,' a friend, a mentor, and a role model. To know him is to love him. He has been the Program Director for Historic Seattle since 1997, and has authored over 10 books. Since 1988, he has written regularly on home design for Pacific Northwest, the magazine of the Seattle Times. Larry also served as architectural historian on the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board from 1995 through 2003. In 1997, he was honored with the Washington State Historic Preservation Officer's Award for Outstanding Career Achievement in Historic Preservation. In my book, there is no better authority on the built community in the Pacific Northwest.

Public Historian, MoHAI and author of many books
Lorriane is an amazing public historian who has devoted her professional life to researching and teaching Pacific Northwest history. I've had the privilege to study under Lorraine's tutelage at the University of Washington's Genealogy & Family History Certificate program (2000) and participate twice in her MoHAI Nearby History Seminar for Writers & Researchers (2006 and 2007). In 2011 she published a wonderful book New Land, North of the Columbia. I think Knute Berger said it best in a December 21, 2011 Crosscut.com article Washington history: Boring no more:  "She digs, she thinks, she studies, she writes, she publishes. She also speaks." He then went on to say, "McConaghy shares her love of research with the book's deceptively simple formula: find important documents in the state's history, reproduce them, and then explain what they mean, and why they are important." And, "If McConaghy's book is a reminder of the gold that's in those hills of documents stored in basements and back rooms, it's also a reminder that digging it out serves both the purpose of enlivening history and enlivening an interest in history."

Margaret Anderson 
Librarian, Leif Erikson Sons of Norway Lodge
Margaret was born in 1919 in Ballard, the first child of John and Karen Høines. Her father, Johan Edvart Høines, was a 1904 immigrant fisherman from Skudeneshaven on the south end of Karmøy Island in Rogaland, Norway, north of Bergen.  Margaret’s mother, Karen Nilsen, was raised on the Skeisvold farm at the north end of the same island, and immigrated in 1905. Margaret graduated from Ballard High School and attended Wilson Business College in downtown Seattle. While working at the Ballard branch of Seattle First National Bank in 1941, she met Carl Anderson, a machinist and commercial fisherman. It was then that she joined the Leif Erikson Sons of Norway Lodge, and in 1987 she became the lodge librarian. She has expanded the library to well over 3,000 books and 60 videotapes. In January 2005, I published an article titled Margaret's Library in the Western Viking newspaper. 
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Photographer, author, and reporter of 'all things Seattle' 
Paul has made it his business to share Seattle's history by telling its stories, using photographs as entry points. Paul may have a point of view, but is most interested in observing and reporting the phenomenon. In 2012 Paul received the Historic Seattle's Award: "Living Landmark". "Paul  has published thirteen books, produced films and video, curated exhibits and lectured widely on the subject of regional history. His work with historic photographs began in 1981 with the publication of 294 Glimpses of Historic Seattle. Since 1982 his “Seattle Now and Then” columns, juxtaposing and interpreting historic and contemporary photographs of Seattle, have appeared weekly in Pacific Northwest, the magazine of the Seattle Times."   Paul's website (www.pauldorpat.com) includes about 100 of his "Seattle Now and Then" columns, plus a digitized version of the 1912 Baist Real Estate Atlas.

 Teacher and author; retired Lead Pastor at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church
I first met Paul in 1996 and have grown to love, respect and admire him. For the past seventeen years he has been the lead pastor at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church on Greenwood Avenue. In 2012 he published a book titled Faith Forming Faith. He genuinely cares about the spiritual education of the members of his congregation, about the people in our community, and about the Christian community worldwide. Phinney Ridge Lutheran has been described as “a model of Christian charity,” using Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor John Winthrop’s phrase. A congregation member once stated, “This is the reason I go to this church. I’m a questioner. And Pastor Paul asks great questions. He doesn’t always answer them. That’s encouraged:  asking questions in faith.” I am also a questioner, and I find comfort in knowing that my pastor is a tenacious charismatic teacher. Paul retired this May (2013), and is now pursuing opportunities to deliver the message of Faith and Font: Following the Way of Christ - Training for Parish Teams, Leaders and Students. 

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